London Film Festival 2012: Teddy Bear Review

  • Obsessed with Film
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Mads Matthiesen picked up a Best Director award at this year’s Sundance with Teddy Bear, a distinctive, heartfelt and richly rewarding film about a shy and retiring 38-year-old bodybuilder named Dennis (Kim Kold) looking for love. The first time we meet Dennis, his kind, quiet demeanour is as striking as his large, hulking frame; he’s a crushingly awkward man, somewhat hamstrung by his giant physique, which causes women to stereotypically pawn him off as a lecherous meathead. His self-esteem is further dented by his overbearing, passive-aggressive mother Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft), and it’s clear that the two are far too comfortable living with one another.

When Dennis’ brother brings home a Thai bride, his yearnings to settle down are re-awakened. The problem, as ever, is that he is judged on his large frame, which is somewhat at odds with his gentle personality. Fed up

Teddy Bear | Review

You’ll Like My Mother: Matthiesen’s Debut a Gentle Giant

Director Mads Matthiesen developed his 2007 short film Dennis into his feature debut, Teddy Bear, a quiet character study about a shy professional body builder looking for love. At times generating a beautiful quiet melancholy, the film ultimately exudes a determined, laconic ambiance, one that drifts it through a running time like an overly familiar tune, one that holds your attention even though you already know exactly how it’s going to play out.

Dennis (Kim Kold), a 38 year old body builder, lives alone with his mother, Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft) in a suburb outside of Copenhagen. It’s immediately apparent that his petite mother is a domineering and controlling woman, exasperated and upset that her hulking son would go to the movies with friends and not leave his cell phone on for when she calls. The mellow, Herculean man assuages her as best he can,
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L.A. Film Fest Review: In 'Teddy Bear,' Bodybuilders Are People Too; Show Them Some Love

Where the phrase “Teddy Bear” implies a certain squashy cuddliness, the film’s subject is anything but. At least on the outside. But, then again, bears aren’t that cuddly in real life either. Danish director Mads Matthiesen developed this feature from his acclaimed 2007 short, “Dennis,” which began his exploration of the emotional resonance of an ultra-masculine figure in an incredibly emasculating situation. In the full-length version of the story, the man’s humiliation and powerlessness evolve into the quiet self-confidence of a person who has found acceptance. Upon peeling back this teddy bear’s layers of fur, we begin to see the soft cotton that gives him his true shape.

Dennis Peterson (real life bodybuilder Kim Kold) is a 38-year-old, colossal hulk of a man, mounds of hard muscle encompassing every inch of his flesh, bands of tight sinew wrapping themselves across his limbs. He dwarfs everyone around him
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2012 Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners

2012 Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners
Sundance Institute this evening announced the Jury, Audience, Next and other special awards of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival at the Festival's Awards Ceremony, hosted by Parker Posey in Park City, Utah. An archived video of the ceremony in its entirety is available at

"Every year the Sundance Film Festival brings to light exciting new directions and fresh voices in independent film, and this year is no different," said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. "While these awards further distinguish those that have had the most impact on audiences and our jury, the level of talent showcased across the board at the Festival was really impressive, and all are to be congratulated and thanked for sharing their work with us."

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, "As we close what was a remarkable 10 days of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, we look to the year
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